HOUSTON, Texas — Finding the right person to spend the rest of your life with is hard enough; asking her to marry you should be the easy part. But with a stalled economy making headlines every day, is it possible to find the perfect diamond ring if you’re on a budget? With online jeweler Whiteflash, the answer is yes. If you’re thinking about asking your girlfriend to marry you with a diamond ring this holiday season, you’re in good company. IDEX Online Research estimates that 84 percent of all brides-to-be received a diamond engagement ring in 2006, up from 83 percent in the previous year. This number keeps rising for good reason: What would a proposal be without a dazzling diamond to make her eyes light up?

Whiteflash holidayRegardless of what the economy looks like, grooms are sticking to the traditional advice about spending two to three months’ salary on a diamond engagement ring. The average cost of rings has risen as salaries have increased: from $2,909 in 1995 to $4,146 in 2005, according to Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (ACPWC). The reason? Unlike other investments, the economy doesn’t take a toll on the value of a diamond. Stocks may rise and fall, but a diamond is forever.

No matter what the economy looks like, when guys find the woman of their dreams, they want to give her a diamond engagement ring. More grooms are discovering that the secret to finding a great ring on a budget is to shop on the Internet, where prices are transparent. Forrester Research reports that online jewelry sales reached $2 billion in 2003 and are expected to rise to $8 billion this year.

That’s because with premier online jewelry sites like Whiteflash, men can custom design a ring especially for their girlfriends – splurging on the characteristics that are important to them and saving money on the areas that aren’t. It’s a much better deal than simply choosing from a few high-priced options at a brick-and-mortar store.

A study by The Wedding Report suggests that style and cost are the driving factors behind ring selection. And when you shop online, you get a much better selection of inventory in your price range, whether that’s $1,000 or $10,000. And at, everything you see on the web site is in stock and ready to be shipped directly to your doorstep – for free.

So when you’re ready to pop the question, remember that you really can purchase a ring that will take her breath away on any budget. Shop smart-shop online!

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[tags]Whiteflash diamonds, popping the question, diamond engagement ring, Wedding Report[/tags]